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CAPE TOWN FAQ`S

How do I get from the airport to my hotel?

The main airport servicing the city of Cape Town is the Cape Town International Airport which is the second largest airport in South Africa. The airport is located around 12 ½ miles from the city center of Cape Town.

If you have not booked a private transfer with us, there are a number of transportation options at the airport including taxis, buses and rental cars.

What types of transportation can I find at the airport?

The Cape Town International Airport offers metered taxis from the airport to the city center which takes around 20 minutes. The official airport taxi company is Touchdown Taxi Association tel. 083-652-0786 and taxis can be found at the Transport Plaza outside the main terminal entrance via 2 pedestrian subways. The cost of a taxi journey to the city center should cost around R300 - R400.

Uber and Taxify are also available, simply download the apps on your smartphone and enter your pick up and drop off location.

MyCiTi bus operates a large network of routes in the city and from the airport operates from 5:00 am until midnight daily. The MyCiTi bus runs from the airport to the Civic Centre bus station (Hertzog Blvd) where you can connect to different routes. The buses depart every 20 minutes from the Transport Plaza opposite the Central Terminal. The journey to the central bus station takes around 30 minutes and the journey costs about R60 - R100

Rental cars are available at the airport and several international rental car company offices can be found just outside the central terminal. Cape Town is easily accessible via the N2 freeway and the Airport Approach Road which directly links the airport and the city.

How do I get from the train station to my hotel?

The main train station in Cape Town is the Cape Town station, located in the central business district on the corner of Adderley and Strand Streets. All trains to and from the city of Cape Town arrive and depart from here. Taxis, Uber, and buses are available outside to connect to other destinations in the city.

How do I get around the city using public transportation?

Cape Town offers a rail system most of which are commuter trains traveling from the city center to the outer suburbs and vice versa. The trains can be extremely crowded and loud during rush hour, trains run daily from 6 am until around 9 pm depending on the route, departing every hour. The Southern Line is the most popular route for tourists running from Cape Town to Simon`s Town along the False Bay Coast with several scenic stops along the way. For more information on times and ticket prices visit www.transport.info@capetown.gov.za

The Cape Town City Sightseeing bus departs every few minutes from the Two Oceans Aquarium on a double-decker hop-on-hop-off tour with audio-commentary stopping at the major attractions found in Cape Town.

The buses in Cape Town are offered by MyCiTi bus service, a cheap and convenient way to get around the city. Buses connect travelers with the major city landmarks from the central city all the way along to the coast to Hout Bay and to the northern beaches. Buses run daily from 5 am until 10 pm, cash is not accepted, passengers must purchase a `myconnect` card to travel which costs around an initial non-refundable R35 which can be purchased from MyCiTi stations and select retailers. Fares depend upon the time of day and total distance you are traveling (peak travel hours are 6:45 am until 8:00 am and 4:15 pm until 5:30 pm).

Shared taxis or `Rikkis` are a popular form of transport in Cape Town, with a network on minibusses shared with other travelers. You can also hire `Rikkis` as a private taxi to deliver you from door to door for a fee. Shared taxis don’t follow a certain route; there are no maps or timetables which can make them a little unreliable. The main station is located in the city center next to the main train station; you can also flag one down from the street. Licensed minibusses have a blue and white sticker on the back of the vehicle with the final destination shown. Fares usually cost around R20 - R25 for a trip from the city center to Table Mountain.

How do I call/hail a Taxi in Cape Town?

Taxis are abundant in Cape Town and available 24/7, however, they can be expensive, rates start around R8 to R15 per 0.62 miles and should be clearly displayed on the outside of the taxis. The city has designated taxi ranks that can be found on the streets, you cannot hail a cab from the street, you can also order by phone. The main taxi rank is found on the upper deck of the Cape Town Train Station.

Uber and Taxify are also available in the city, simply download the apps to your smartphone and input your pick up and drop off location. Payment is handled directly through the app making it simple and convenient.

Should I rent a car in Cape Town?

Renting a car to travel around the `Mother City` at your own pace is a great idea and gives you the freedom to see the many sites and attractions on your own time. Rental car agencies are available at the airport and many locations in downtown Cape Town. Having your own vehicle is a relaxing way to see the vast area and attractions the city has to offer. The city has some of the most spectacular scenic drives in the world, cruising along the stunning coastline and through the majestic mountains is a great ride.

I will have a car in Cape Town, where can I Park?

The city offers an abundance of parking between on-street parking and parking garages within the city center. Monday through Saturday there is normally a 1 hour limit on parking within the city, there are many parking marshals to help you find a spot or answer any questions (look for their yellow vests). Parking normally costs around R10 for an hour.

A new app has been created for parking in the city, `Park Find` will allow people to find and pay for parking on their smartphones using the app. Currently, the app can be used only in the Central Business District from 8 am to 5 pm on weekdays and from 8 am to 1 pm on Saturdays.

Is Cape Town a walking city?

Cape town offers so many different areas to see and explore, so walking around is necessary and enjoyable with a spectacular scenic coastline, serene beaches, and stunning Mountains. The city center is easily accessible on foot with many sights and attractions lumped together.

Cape Town is renowned for hiking up the iconic Table Top and Lion`s Head Mountains through the lush green flora and fauna the area is famous for along with breathtaking views from the top.

The Cape Peninsula is a dynamic region filled with natural landscapes, quaint towns, and villages and the Cape Flats where walking is a pleasure.

The V&A Waterfront is a happening area filled with sights and attractions for the whole family. A particularly popular place in the evening to stroll along the harbor and watch the sunset and visit the many restaurants and bars located here.

Bo-Kaap is one of the most picturesque and photographed neighborhoods in the city, decorated with colorful houses painted in pastel and bright colors. The area dates back to the 1700`s and is nestled on the slopes of Signal Hill.

Can I ride a bike in Cape Town?

Cape Town is a bike-friendly city and a renowned cycling location where you can cycle to explore the beautiful mountains and coastal landscapes. There are many off-road cycling routes and bike tours offered in the city, the perfect way to see and experience the spectacular scenic city. There are designated cycling lanes in the city and over 270 miles of cycle paths overall. Bikes are available to rent at many different locations in Cape Town and Upcycles is a local company renting bikes from the V&A Waterfront, City Bowl, Silo District, Camps Bay and Sea Point Pavilion with pick up and drop off points offered in between.

Where can I take a boat ride in Cape Town?

Cape Town`s miles of stunning coastline provides visitors with many different options to get out on the water. Whether you are looking for a relaxing day cruising on the waters, a sunset champagne cruise or even chartering your own Yacht! Cape Town offers it all. Most boat tours and activities depart from the popular V&A Waterfront, where there are several different companies with a number of options to choose from including sailing on a Schooner, boat rides to Table Bay and Robben Island (a boat tour is the only option to visit this island) and speedboat trips.

Is Cape Town a dangerous city, is there anything I should be aware of?

Cape Town is a relatively safe city to visit, as in any large city in the world always be sure to keep your wits about you and practice safe street smarts in order to stay safe. Do not carry around expensive personal items and keep your valuables secure at all times. Make sure you stick to well-lit and well-populated areas at night, do not wander into neighborhoods or areas alone. Always take a taxi from the central bus station late at night and watch out for young children on the street who might ask you to play or compare shoes sizes, they are talented pickpockets. It is advised not to use your cell phone while out walking around, these and cameras are well-known items to be `snatched` in the city by thieves.

What are some popular areas for shopping?

Cape Town is truly a shopaholics dream! There are so many different shopping experiences and items to purchase in the `Mother City` you can easily find anything you want while shopping here. The city even offers shopping tours where you can explore the malls, luxury boutiques, waterfronts shops and bustling marketplaces and pick up items of your choice.

The city has such a wide range of products to offer that many visitors bring or buy an extra suitcase to take home all their goods. Some of the most popular items to shop for in the `Mother City` are precious diamonds, gemstones, and jewelry, genuine leather, African crafts, ceramics, fine wines, contemporary art, custom tailored clothing, African masks and antiques.

There are so many shopping locations found all around the city, but some of the popular places to check out is The Watershed located at the V&A Waterfront featuring 150 shops and over 365 different brands and souvenirs, open daily from 10 am until 7 pm. There are many boutiques situated along Long and Kloof Street in the city center and on the first Thursday of every month, the galleries and designer shops found around Church and Bree Street is a bustling area filled with local art and a great street party. The Green Point Market offers one of the best flea markets every Sunday where you can find items from earlier in the week at much lower prices.

Where can I visit the Christmas Markets in Cape Town?

Christmas Markets in Cape Town is simply wonderful and a great way to experience shopping in the city and get you in the holiday spirit. Although Christmastime in the Cape is during the summertime with warm days and balmy nights, this is still a magical experience to explore the many markets for that perfect gift or unique decoration.

Bay Harbor Market is a weekend event where stalls fill the area and live music and bands bring playing Christmas tunes to add to the holiday atmosphere. You can shop for everything and enjoy delicious food and drinks on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings from 5 - 10 pm.

There is an annual Holiday Market on Saturdays held at the Old Biscuit Mill, which is one of the most popular in the city. Shoppers can enjoy drinks and street food while shopping for festive gifts, this market is filled with locally designed arts and crafts and offers live entertainment.

The Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens features a Christmas Craft Market which takes place at the old stone cottages at the entrance to the gardens offering jewelry, pottery, crafts, and food.

The Cape Gift Market in the heart of the City Bowl offers a wide range of seasonal gifts, delicious food, toys, and art.

What is the currency? Can I pay/tip in US dollars?

The official units of currency in Cape Town are the Rand (R or ZAR), one Rand is made up of 100 cents. US dollars are not accepted; make sure to exchange your dollars for Rand before or upon entering South Africa. ATMs can be found all over the city and most banks are open 9:00 am until 3:30 pm during the week and 9:00 am until 11:00 am on Saturdays.

South Africa charges a VAT (value added tax) of 14% on goods and services. Vistors can reclaim VAT on their purchases of more than R250, this process is handled at the VAT refund offices at the Cape Town International Airport. You will need your original tax invoice/receipt and your passport. Visit www.taxrefunds.co.za for more information.

Tipping in South Africa is customary at most establishments in the service industry. 10% - 15% of your total bill is generally expected. Please visit our tipping guide for more information on tipping in South Africa

Where can I go swimming and surfing in Cape Town?

Cape Town`s coastal location makes it the perfect destination for visiting the many beautiful beaches and a great spot for surfing. The False Bay Beaches are some of the most popular destinations due to the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, great for swimming. The Bay is nestled on the east side of the Cape Peninsula and sheltered from the cold temperatures of the South Atlantic Ocean offering sheltered beaches all around the bay. On the west side of the Peninsula Camps Bay, Clifton Beach and Boulder Beach are some of the most visited beaches where the water is chillier.

Muizenberg located in False Bay is a great location for beginners to learn how to surf. Cape Horn and Dungeons (near Hout Bay) boast some big, powerful waves! The winter months of June through August, are some of the best times for the large swells which are pushed through the Cape and the Antarctic by the big storms. South Africa is generally a year-round surfing destination if you don’t mind the cold waters.

Kite Surfing is also a popular water sport, and Cape Town is one of the best Kite Surfing destinations in the world. The location of the Cape gives surfers access to two oceans, and the `Cape Doctor` or `South Easter` provides windy conditions and large waves from October through April. Some of the most popular locations are Dolphin Beach, Muizenberg and Langebaan Lagoon.

Where can I go shark cage diving in Cape Town?

Shark cage diving is one of the most popular activities to partake in and the Cape is one of the best places in the world to dive with Great White Sharks. This underwater activity is an exhilarating and amazing experience. Get up close and personal with these amazing animals, there are around a quarter of the world`s shark species that live in the South African waters and great white sharks patrol the waters situated between Dyer Island and Geyser Rock. Gansbaai is the white shark capital of the world and is a 2-hour drive from Cape Town, shark diving is the main form of tourism here along with whale watching so there are many different tour companies to choose from for an adrenaline filled day in these shark-infested waters.

Whale watching is also very popular in Gansbaii where killer whales and Bryde`s whales can be spotted all year round and humpback and southern right whales swim and breed off the coast from August to November.

Where can I visit a winery in Cape Town?

Cape Town possesses the famous Cape Winelands which is a wine lover`s paradise set in the rolling countryside filled with vineyards, mountains, and world-class wine estates. Stellenbosch, Paarl, and Franschhoek to name a few, are some of the most famous towns in the region for wine. Day trips to these stunning locations are popular from Cape Town, where visitors can enjoy sightseeing in the picturesque towns, visiting the magnificent estates and enjoying world-class wine tastings and delectable food amongst the urban landscapes is a great way to spend the day.

What is the food like?

The cuisine found in the Cape is some of the world`s finest gastronomy, which can be consumed at some of the best restaurants in the country. The most delicious city to dine is becoming a world-class destination receiving international awards. Cape Town offers its visitors a wide range of cuisines from all over the world, including local African and Cape Malay, superb freshly caught seafood, Mediterranean and tapas-style menus, Dutch and International.

The seafood and fish found on the menu`s in the Cape area are some of the best in the entire world. Diners can enjoy the world`s finest tuna which is caught off the shores of South Africa, giant prawns and line caught fish such as yellowtail or cob.

Some common Cape Malay dishes that you might see on the local menus include:

`bobotie` which is lightly curried minced beef or lamp topped with a savory egg custard sauce served over turmeric flavor rice with chutney on the side.

`bredies` are stews made from meat or fish with vegetable.

`Dhaltjies (chili bites) are deep-fried balls of chickpea flour batter mixed with potato, coriander, and spinach.

`samosas` triangle shaped pockets of crispy, fried pastry with a spicy vegetable filling.

`malva` is a pudding made of sponge with apricot jam and brandy.

`koeksuster` are doughnuts dipped in syrup.

Food in the `Mother City` can be enjoyed at world-class restaurants, legendary burger joints, farmers markets, wine estates, the Lindt Chocolate Studios and beach and waterfront restaurants. Whatever location you choose, you can be sure to enjoy some of the best food in one of the most spectacular cities in the world.

Where can I attend High Tea in Cape Town?

High Tea is a very popular pastime in Cape Town, visitors can indulge themselves in delicious pastries and a pot of tea any time of day. The city has a wonderful selection of high tea locations including the Mount Nelson Hotel also known as the Pink Palace is said to have the best afternoon tea in the world. The Silo Hotel which is located in the Zeitz MOCAA Museum building offering breathtaking views over the harbor and Table Mountain, serving up the best macaroons in Cape Town.

What is the nightlife like?

Cape Town also referred to as `Tavern of the Seven Seas` is bursting with restaurants, bars, nightclubs and other nightlife scenes on every surface of the city. The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is a happening area any time of day, but once the sun goes down, this is one of the best locations to watch the sunset, the area comes alive with street performers, live music and plenty of places to eat and party. Camps Bay is another waterfront destination offering a wide array of restaurants, bars, and clubs which is popular with the locals. Long Street is famous in the city and comparable to the party streets in New Orleans where many places have balconies where visitors can look down at the street below. There are restaurants, bars, and clubs that line the bustling street. Kloof Street (a short walk from Long) has a vibrant nightlife scene with plenty of hipster drinking establishments.

Music, especially Jazz is a large part of the city`s heritage and the city`s jazz history dates back to the difficult times during the apartheid years when individuals found comfort in music. Music has evolved over the years and Cape Jazz now has a distinctive African flare to it, music can be found all over the city, in the bars downtown to the beachfront hangouts.

I don`t speak Afrikaans will there be many people who speak English?

The official languages spoken in Cape Town are English, Afrikaans, and Xhosa. English is widely spoken in most of the service industries including hotels, restaurants, shops, and transportation.

We recommend you get a good English - South African guidebook and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, please, thank you, excuse me and numbers 1 - 10.

Do I need to get vaccinations to visit Cape Town?

When traveling to South African it is recommended that you be up to date on routine vaccinations including MMR, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, varicella, polio and the flu shot. The CDC recommends the hepatitis A, typhoid and rabies vaccines if traveling to South Africa.

What should I do if I need medical assistance or need to go to the hospital?

In case of an emergency dial 107 from a landline and 112 from a mobile phone.

Dial 10111 for the police, dial 10177 for an ambulance.

Dial +27 (0) 861106417 for the Table Mountain National Park Emergencies.

Hospitals:

Groote Schuur Hospital tel. 27-21-404-9111

Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital tel. 27-21-441-0000

Life Vincent Pallotti Hospital tel. 27-21-506-5111